Written by John Preer, Editor-in-Chief
The forecast for VSU’s future is cloudy at best, according to figures released by university officials. Faculty senate members are understandably worried by the numbers and what they mean for their future with the university. Low enrollment and retention are being blamed by administration for the recent downsizing of faculty and staff. These cuts caught many faculty members off guard considering their standing with the university. Faculty members are unsure about their future going ahead and question just how secure their job security is.
“The general feelings expressed to me by faculty and faculty senators, privately and in meetings with regard to the non-renewals, were ones of sadness, frustration, and uncertainty,” said Faculty Senate President, Dr. Peggy Moch.
Some faculty members want to help in any way that they can and have expressed interest in doing so. However, getting their suggestions heard hasn’t been particularly successful.
According to Dr. Moch, the faculty senate is concerned with the end game for students and how the positions can be compensated for.
“During various meetings, the Executive Committee expressed concerns about junior faculty and asked about the intention to increase class sizes, research time compression, or to reduce programs. We were told there were no global intentions to increase class sizes or hours taught per semester, to reduce faculty time available for research, or to reduce or eliminate programs at this time,” said Dr. Moch.
“There has been a general out pouring of concern for those who received letters and a desire to assist them in any way possible as well as a general concern for the impact these reductions will have on credit hour production for some departments for next year,” said Dr. Mock
Faculty are concerned that if the university responds to low enrollment with professor layoffs, their employment could lie at the mercy of future retention and enrollment rates. The university wants to assure people that the students will not feel any adverse effects as a result of the cuts, however; some students fail to understand how that is possible when their greatest asset is being diminished by the dozens.
“I personally believe that the aspect of laying off professors is absurd, considering that it’s the entire reason we are here as college students; to obtain an education, said junior, Natalie Starling.
The students here at VSU seem to share a common sentiment with the faculty and are reluctant to see the professors leave. Many students believe that there are other areas that could receive cuts in place of professor positions.
“I come here to learn, and laying off the teachers is counterproductive to that learning process … I feel like they could have made cuts to Parking and Transportation or the new health sciences building,” said Senior Kaleigh Humphreys
“We [need] to stop and think about trying to be proactive, thinking about what we can do to prevent the need for future reductions, and maybe figure out a way to rescind some of the letters. … It has always been my firm belief that a dynamic group of thoughtful individuals can and do accomplish amazing things,” said Dr. Moch.